Sources: Arms the hangup in teams' Cabrera trade talks

Updated: November 30, 2007, 7:06 PM ET
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

In theory, the Angels and Marlins are as close as ever to a deal for Miguel Cabrera. But in reality, they're both so dug in on their positions, sources say they have no plans to talk again until after they both arrive at the winter meetings Sunday.

The Angels are still frustrated by what they felt were last-minute changes in Florida's asking price. So they've told the Marlins that if talks do resume next week, Florida will have to approach them, not the other way around. But that doesn't mean the Angels have lost interest in Cabrera, either.

The two teams appear to have agreed that second baseman Howie Kendrick and catcher Jeff Mathis would be part of any deal. So if they can settle on which young pitcher or pitchers the Angels would add to that package, they could still wind up making the biggest trade of the winter meetings.

Neither team has been willing to reveal precisely what happened when, according to Angels owner Arte Moreno, the Marlins twice increased their asking price as the teams appeared to be nearing a deal. But indications are that the dispute revolved around how many pitchers the Marlins expected to get back in the trade.

According to baseball men who have spoken with both teams, the clubs have talked about three young starting pitchers -- Ervin Santana, Joe Saunders and the Angels' best pitching prospect, Nick Adenhart. But the Angels apparently weren't willing to trade two pitchers from that group without changes to the other half of the package.

So it's still possible that outfielder Reggie Willits, who could fill the Marlins' center-field vacancy, could be substituted for one of the pitchers when the teams resume discussions.

Or the clubs might be able to agree to a 3-for-1 swap. Other teams that have talked to Florida about Cabrera said the Marlins told them they would be open to a 3-for-1 deal instead of 4-for-1 "if it's the right three."

But before they can get down to those details, the Angels' and Marlins' first order of business may be simply to clear the air.

Senior writer Jayson Stark covers Major League Baseball for ESPN.com.

Jayson Stark | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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